Infidelity and STDs

A friend of mine suspected his wife was having an affair after she abruptly stopped talking to him and wanted a divorce. About 4 weeks later, he found out he contracted a lifelong STD. She was the only person ever in his life that he had been intimate with. She does not want to reconcile or talk at all. From a religous point, is this grounds for an annullment? Also, do you think he has any legal options?

That is very sad, and I’m sorry this happened to your friend.

That is not something anyone here can tell you. In and of itself, no, it is not grounds for a decree of nullity. However, that doesn’t mean there are no grounds. This is something that your friend needs to discuss with his priest. I can also recommend the book Annulment: The Wedding That Was by Michael Smith Foster.

A lawyer would be the best resource for this type of question.

I am sorry that your friend is going through such a horrible time right now. I cannot speak concerning annulments but I would tell your friend to speak with a lawyer regarding his wife having infected him with an std. If the wife had prior knowledge that she had the std then he can take her to court.

In my state when a person has prior knowledge of being infected with an std and knowingly passes it on the guilty party can be sentenced anywhere from 5 to 10 years in jail.

I have a female friend who was infected with an std by a boyfriend who had prior knowledge of having been infected and she was devasted when diagnosed so I can only imagine how your friend is feeling right now.

Anyway…What your friend most needs right now is alot of prayerful reflection and support from family and friends such as yourself.

Your friend will be in my prayers.


An annullment is an official statement from the Church that a valid marriage never occurred, therefore the current legal and social relationship can be ended.

In other words, the couple was never bound in the sacrament.

Infidelity after a valid marriage still makes it a marriage.

Nullity is a matter of what happened when the marriage was being contracted - i.e. all the grounds matter for the point of the wedding. The common name “annulment” is tricky because it makes people think a marriage can be made void if something bad happens. The truth is that a marriage either is or is not valid from the beginning. A person who willingly took the risk of infecting his or her spouse with an STD may have been immature, not understanding or willing Christian marriage and so on. Also, infidelity and wish for divorce are signs of a serious problem with the goods of marriage (faith and sacrament respectively) and while they of themselves don’t indicate marriage as null, they are clues that problems might have existed already when marriage was being contracted. If a person excludes fidelity or indissolubility at the point of wedding, then the marriage is invalid. Your friend needs to talk to the Tribunal.

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